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All Things Headwaters – an Update

It’s been an extraordinary summer so far for all things Healthy Headwaters. The visionary approaches championed by our Healthy Headwaters leadership and their communities are starting to gain traction across the West.

From the Mountain Accord agreement in Utah, to serious funding commitments in northern Arizona, to the national stage with the first federal watershed restoration bill, things are moving and shaking. Below we share these stories and more.

We’re thrilled to see the ideas and pathways to a more climate and water-resilient West moving to scale. Our challenge still remains: accelerating these innovative approaches so that they’re the norm, not the inspiring newsflash in a season of big fires.

The Mountain Accord

On August 3, Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed phase 1 of  the Mountain Accord, after the Accord’s Executive Board (composed of nearly two dozen remarkably diverse organizations) approved this visionary long-range plan to manage transportation, recreation and water supply in the Wasatch. After two years of consensus-based negotiations, the Utah ski industry agreed to support enhanced federal protections in the central Wasatch Mountains in exchange for land swaps for expanded base areas. The deal sets aside 80,000 acres for permanent federal protections. And while the full details will emerge from Phase 2, the framework is powerful, and powerfully supported. From a Healthy Headwaters perspective, the gains for watershed protection and water supply are well served, and a new type of NEPA process heavy on stakeholder engagement will begin shortly.

Heinrich-Flake Watershed Restoration Legislation

In July, the long-hoped for bi-partisan watershed protection legislation was introduced by U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), both members of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.  S. 1780, the  Restoring America’s Watersheds Act would protect, restore, and improve the health of watersheds in national forests. The legislation would prioritize fire-impacted watersheds and encourage partnerships with non-federal stakeholders to invest in forests that provide important water resources. We’re pleased that this legislation was informed in part by the Healthy Headwaters Alliance Policy Platform.

Northern Arizona Forest Fund

In less than a year since it was launched, the Northern Arizona Forest Fund (NAFF), has had great fundraising success. The NAFF is an innovative partnership led by the National Forest Foundation and the Salt River Project to improve forest health and water quality in the Salt and Verde River watersheds. The Fund has raised an impressive $1.4 million dollars from individuals and companies in the greater Phoenix area in its first year and has partnered with the City of Phoenix, which is investing $200,000 per year in the Fund. The NAFF is already working on several NEPA-ready projects to protect water and restore forests in northern Arizona.

Forest Restoration – A Water Smart Move

An Op-Ed co-authored by Kimery Wiltshire, CEO and President of Carpe Diem West, and Elliot Hoffman, founder and CEO of REV featured in the Desert Sun, July 28, 2015.

Kimery Wiltshire

Kimery Wiltshire
August 13, 2014

Photo Credit: Wikepedia.org 


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